Yes, the Cheese and Burger Society is nothing but a front for the Wisconsin Dairy Producers. Yes, they are using me as a viral marketing tool. Do I feel exploited? No, just a little empty inside... and by that I mean hungry as hell. Mission complete, dairy farmers, you shameless bastards. You got me.
Follow the link and let the java app load to view a rolodex of 30 creative cheeseburger recipes. Each features a sexy photo as well as a voice-over by Patrick Warburton, king of sarcastic macho over-annunciation. Don't forget to check out the "Meet the Cheese" bonus feature. "Never trust a man that doesn't eat Gorgonzola."
Forget wikipedia, this is why the internet exists.
Checking for ingredients to see if I can pull off a Crabby Louie (17) or Johnny Appleseed (29) immediately.
A friend and I sat next to each other at a work retreat yesterday. At the end of the day, she asked me if I thought that one of the presenters is gay. I'm not completely certain either way, but I suspect that he's straight. She thinks he's straight, too, but admitted that her gaydar isn't as finely attuned as mine.
My gaydar went off only at a low decible, but I did check him out. The first thing I look for is a wedding ring. No ring on his wedding finger. Score a few points there. I finally decided that he's not gay -- nothing conclusive went off.
But, I'm not willing to write him off completely. On his right hand, he wears a signet ring. Very suspicious.
My friend had seen the signet ring, too, and it put a small dent in her confidence in his straightness.
Straight Guy is away this week on a family vacation. Ironically, he's missing a story that's right up his alley.
As you might have deduced from reading the blog, SG has more of a pop culture orientation, and is interested in any kind of entertainment/informational technology. And, GG . . . well, not so much.
So, SG was the first person I thought of when I listened to this story this morning on Marketplace from American Public Radio. Listen to the Marketplace sound file, read the transcript and related stories.
To quote from the story transcript: "Sony has launched a new marketing site. It's targeted to dads who read parenting blogs. Sony's wading into some murky waters here, given the criticism that some Mommy bloggers have gotten lately for reviewing products they got for free, and not disclosing that fact. Sony says it's beyond all that."
I'm not interested in the ethical problems of promotional products for prose scheme. I'm interested in dads who read parenting blogs, because most parenting blogs make SG furious -- he says they cast straight men as man-child bumblers. No comments from me about straight men as man-child bumblers; I just talk about gay men as man-child bumblers.
More from the Marketplace piece: "What we're seeing with the rise of the Daddy blogs is there are some areas where men are the real decision makers. Gaming systems is clearly one of those. We'll see a little bit more emphasis on gadgets of all kinds. And, oh, by the way, cars too."
Gaming systems, gadgets, cars: three things that I could not care less about. I keep falling into traditional gay stereotypes, and it's tiresome. SG is pretty much on decision making targets: While I don't think SG cares much about cars, he could write a kick-ass blog about gaming systems and home entertainment systems. He's certainly my go-to guy for all things electronic.
So, what kind of consumer blog would I write, if I were to write one, to reflect my prowestt as a "real decision maker?" Here's what people ask me for help with:
-- Clothes (gay)
-- Restaurant recommendations (gay)
-- Vacation tips, especially hotels (gay)
-- Book theater, and movie reviews (nondenominational/curious at best)
I'd like to think that my interests and talents are three dimensional, but maybe not. This doesn't make me feel like a "male decision maker." What else am I good at? My friends tell me that I help them think through their problems in valuable ways. I don't really dispense directive advice, unless specifially asked, but I do like to tease out multiple perspectives. That's a talent, right? I give good directions and have good map skills. That's pretty straight, right?
But, cars? No. Gadgets? Only if you include kitchen gadgets.
Many mixed messages here. Looks like a typical straight guy taligate keg party. A few of them are wearing football jerseys, so let's assume that's the backstory. But...
Dancing and airhumping to Euro disco in wet t-shirts?
And, was that one guy wearing a poncho or serape?
There's a girl or two in the crowd but still a little too much man-love for this straight guy.
Sad times here at Casa del SG. I've been cleaning out the basement bit by bit over the last few weeks and have been trying to purge some of the stuff that's accumulated down there over the years. Most of it won't be missed. But, I'm having a hard time saying goodbye to my collection of cassette tapes.
I'm part of that narrow slice of Gen X: the cassette generation. Post LP but pre CD. Oh, how we were duped. Deprived of LP cover art and of the pristine sound quality of CDs, what did we get? Well, we were the first to enjoy the simple thrill of popping the music right into the dashboard (or walkman) and listening on the way home. And rewinding to just the right spot -- oops, wait -- there it is! -- and listening again. That's something, I guess. Otherwise it's just a lot of hiss and lame Dolby NR options that never really worked anyway. But I loved music and craved convenience, so did I really have any choice?
I still have hundreds of them, loosely organized in plastic bins. Some store-bought classics, many guilty pleasures, and a few selections best classified as "what the hell was I thinking?" (Looking at you, Shalamar.) Throw in a few cassingles from the one-hit wonders, just to round things out.
There's also a bin dedicated to mix-tapes, the hard currency of friendship in the 1980s. These might be the hardest to part with. Can't classify it as an art (a la High Fidelity), but making a tape for someone was a kind of craft. It took a whole afternoon or evening of selecting songs and carefully ordering the playlist, recording in real time, monitoring the levels, and stressing over the pauses between each selection. So, maybe we got a little conceited in the process. Our sensibilities were never as sophisticated as we thought at the time -- no minds were ever technically "blown" by my audio expertise, anyway. But we did it because we cared. I doubt many kids today would take the time to express themselves that way. Why would they, with blogs, facebook, and text-messaging at their disposal? They don't lack the tools to let everyone know what they think and how they feel. We had to be slightly more subtle, and let Lou Reed, Chrissie Hynde, James Taylor, and Stevie Wonder do the talking.
OK. Trying not to dwell, here. I don't have a tape deck anymore, and for the most part love my iPod lifestyle. Some of the artists have migrated with me, others have been left behind (where have you gone, Hoodoo Gurus?). The vast majority of those tapes have gone unused for over 10 years now. I'd like to find a good home for them, because it's hard to throw away Abbey Road, no matter what the format. But I also have a hard time believing that my local library would want a copy of the album where Eddie Murphy sings with sincerity.
Do I wish that timing had been better and all of my collection was on CD? Sure. The really sad part is that as the format loses value, all the tapes become equally worthless. On cassette, the Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, and early Prince are dragged down to the level of Scritti Polliti, Billy Vera, and The Force MDs. Now that's a shame.
Even though I probably spent thousands of dollars building this now-worthless collection, it's the free mix-tapes that are hardest to let go. Any advice?
P.S. Check out this interesting NYT graphic on music format popularity, indicating cassette sales peaking in the late 80s, just when my appetite for music was also at its peak. As a tribute to those cassettes now headed for the dumpster, I'll finish with this nostalgically appropriate tribute... "such a pity to say goodbye to you..."
Here's a little gayguystraightguy survey data. Nothing universal, just me vs him. I guess it's no surprise that GG's refined palette appreciates tiramisu, creme brulee, and Godiva chocolates. I, however, am easily satisfied by selections available at the boardwalk, ballpark, and/or county fair.
Can't we all just get along? Yes. We found common ground (and cost-effective satisfation) in Snickers candy bars. Apple and key lime pies were also more than acceptable to both of us.
Cheesecake is lonely in the middleground. No love, no hate. Neither gay nor straight.
Readers, where do you fit in this tasty mix? Are you craving flan or Little Debbie? Anything we forgot?
Just yesterday we were talking about the blog and I commented that I had to write some fun-loving, positive posts. That maybe even I was tiring of the grumpy character that I often fall into. Yeah, I'm honest (mostly) about how I feel, but it's also easy... easier to snark on the annoying than to really open up about something that inspires or delights (wow, almost NEVER use that word).
I promise I'll work on that. Soon. But not right now.
Supposedly, this is the "Sun Road Dance," part of a performance series "intended to capture the spirit and essence of our great national parks through the arts."
This is the essence of Glacier National Park? Not even close. I can tell from a single pose that I don't like it, and am guessing I would be irked rather than entertained by the whole number.
No. No. No. Don't tell me that the incongruity IS the point. That's not going to cut it. He can wear his tuxedo in the desert, jungle, and ocean too, for all I care. It won't work. The mountain views in Montana are beyond beautiful. There is no need to sprinkle our creative impulses from peak to valley to try to make it more so. That's just noise at best, and at worst, another kind of pollution.
The emotional and intellectual impact of visiting a remote national park is in stripping yourself of pretense and ego. To appreciate nature on its terms, not your own. And to feel small and insignificant, which, surprisingly, is a great way to let the worry and drama of your day-to-day fade away.
I've been to Montana many times. I've hiked some of these trails. Often, when struck by the profound beauty of the vistas and animals, I recognize that I am in a moment that could be a million years old. That I am the most "unnatural" thing to pass that way in a long while.
I've never thought: Where's my red cummerbund? I'm holding in a dance that needs to be released and recorded!
I'm a liberal and an arts lover. Hey, I found this in today's Style section before I even opened the news and sports pages. But I've admitted that I'm not much for modern interpretive dance. Maybe I'd have more of an open mind about it, if it weren't for stuff like this.
Look, I know that to have a vibrant arts scene, there has to be room for the experimental, the un-understandable, and, at times, the offensive. I don't want to strip this guy of his grants. I want more than celebrity dance-offs and MTV hip-hop dance crew battles. So, here's my problem: I can't define the line between "interpretive" and "indulgent" dance, but for me, it's clearly been crossed in the photo above.
Choreographer, dancer, and cinematographer Trey McIntyre, of the Trey McIntyre Project (did I say self indulgent or self important?) claims that he was initially skeptical of the concept, but charged ahead anyway. "There is a certain absurdity, not meant to be comic, about somebody in a tuxedo in the middle of the woods," he says, "I wanted to find out what it means when those two elements coexist, what that struggle means."
Wow, I agree with him. It's not comic. Too bad. I would have given funny a chance. Elements struggling to co-exist? Whatever, dude. Otherwise, this exercise only "means" that a few hikers came upon this nonsense and were denied, however briefly, the opportunity to see Glacier on its own terms.
Wonder what the bears made of this. Were they entertained by dancers in red? Or appetized by brightly wrapped snacks?
P.S.: GG, I realize that, because you have tickets to just about everything, you might be in attendance. If so, I hope my uninformed pre-review enhances your evening, and that I'm wrong about everything.
Readers, I'm trying to avoid dance-related sexual stereotypes, so I'll ask this way: Is there something about interpretive dance that (many? most? some?) straight guys just don't "get"?
GAY GUY RESPONDS:
Wonder what the bears made of the interpretive dance performance? Sadly, not lunch. Apparently, they were insufficiently hungry, excessively polite, or just overwhelmed. The mean part of me says, "Please DO feed the bears."
I know I should be an equal opportunity arts lover, but no go here. I'm ready to partake in just about anything, look at photography and painting, listen to a lot of music, but, counter to expected stereotypes (gay = gotta dance!), draw the line at performance art and dance, especially interpretive dance.
For a few months a few years ago, I dated a guy who booked dance groups for arts centers. Big name groups. So, I was (fortunate enough) able to see a lot of famous dance groups. It was sometimes painful. I'd like to think I appreciate all art forms, but dance usually makes me uncomfortable. There is something that doesn't feel natural about it. I can admire some of the technical athleticism in it, and can certainly admire the physicality of the dancers -- at least those who don't like like they won't break in two before my very eyes. There's just something about it that feels indulgent.
Does this make me a bad arts lover? What's my problem?
I'm sympathetic to your argument that other artists can take something from nature, distill it, and then create something that presents a point of view informed by memory. This dance project and projects like Christo and his bed sheets across the country don't work for me.
I just came back from hiking in the Redwoods. Early this summer was Virginia's Shenandoah, last year was Yosemite. Next year I hope for Yellowstone, Glacier or Zion. What makes those trips so compelling his how those place -- I might even say sacred places -- have an impact ON me, not how I have an impact ON it. Being reminded that I am but a blip in the span of the world is freeing, not discouraging.
Remember the park Golden Rule: Leave only footprints, take only memories and photos.
I guess that interpretive dance is like my question about Mt. Rushmore: Who looks at a gorgeous, sacred place and sees the heads of presidents?
As a final note, a friend of mine had a free spirit of a dad. At the dad's funeral one of the prayers was performed through interpretive dance. It took some strengths to keep my lips from twitching. At the post-funeral reception, I asked the deceased's sister, a 70-something year old woman renowned for her mercilessly honest observations of things, what she thought of the dance. After a thoughtful pause, she answered, in a deadpan, somewhat world-weary voice: "Well, HE would have loved it."
The perfect answer is also a thing of beauty, and needs no interpretation.
I had an embarrassing incident at the gym last evening, an incident that took me right back to the sixth grade. No, not that embarrassing moment -- this was long before I hit the shower.
I got scared and skulked around the gym hiding from this guy to avoid getting his fist in my face. If that doesn't send ya back to middle school, nothing will.
The back story: A few weeks ago I went up the street to lunch a little after noon. I passed the fancy gym next door where everyone is beautiful (not the back-to-basics gym that I belong to), where a dog was tied up on the terrace outside the gym, barking his heart out. An hour or so later, I passed by on my way back from lunch; same dog, same constant barking. An hour or so after that, I stepped out again to get some stamps or something. Dog. Barking. Add that it's July so it's hot.
I'm not really one to get into other people's business, so don't count on me to spearhead an intervention. Nor am I the Patron Saint of Puppies. But I told myself that if the dog was still there on my way back from the post office, I'd have to do something.
The short story is that I screwed up my courage, asked the fancy man at the fancy desk at the fancy gym if he knew who the dog belonged to. After some ridiculous verbal shell game at the front desk, dog owner appeared, mad as hell at me. Steam coming out of his ears. The synopsis of the point-counter point of our terse, tense, short conversation was that I need to learn how to mind my own business and that he needs to learn how to take care of an animal. He said that the dog had only been out there for an hour, I said I begged to differ and promised to provide my lunch mate to prove it.
I said my peace and left. He shouted at my departing figure that if I did anything about the dog, like call the SPCA, he'd "sue me."
To which I responded, "Bring it on."
The point of the story is not just that some people don't know how to take care of a dog, but that I felt very manly man in a way that I don't often feel. I felt that I had participated in a cave man-like primal altercation. It felt scary but thrilling at the same time. For once, I was the gay guy asking for trouble.
I figured that I'd probably never see the dude again. But, who do I see out of the corner of my eye when I entered my regular gym but Dog Man. I can't tell if he sees me, but I figure there's a 50-50 chance that his peripheral vision is as good as mine. I piled up some free weights in a corner, made myself immobile, tried to work out, and generally speaking, tried to be invisible. And felt miserable.
Don't try to use this expression, I felt like a sissy. A grown man skulking around to avoid getting what at worst would be a verbal rematch. Finally I couldn't take anymore, and decided to walk by him. Not to have a conversation or a confrontation, but to let him know I saw him and that I knew that he was there. That would be good enough.
We passed in the hallway. He gave me a weird smile, and I nodded my head. That was all.
One detail: He had an odd looking pink scratch from his eye down his cheek. My petty self hopes his dog sharpened his doggy digits there.
A local group has started a father/infant running group, baby-on-board jogging strollers required. From today's Washington Post website:
The group we formed -- DC Dads on the Run -- meets every Sunday... Our goal is 3 plus miles of Daddy time. Time to discuss sports, work, marriage, child milestones, funny stories or anything else that comes to mind.... And finally... to add a little daddy bonding time to our lives as we share in the Dad journey.
It sounds so good-natured, healthy, and responsible that I'm reluctant to share my gripe, especially because I'll never have my act together like these guys do. But here goes.
I'm a father, but I have no idea what "daddy bonding time" is all about. "Daddy time" I get. Quality time with my kids is important. But bonding with other dads over developmental milestones? Meh, not so much. And don't get me started with the capital-D "Dad journey." Ugh. Are we really that reflective now?
Anyone on these jogs drift off the road while gazing down at their own navel?
Isn't there any nobility in struggling in silence with our responsibilities as men, even if we are stretching and growing to share more and more of the parenting with our wives?
Gay Guy, I don't know about your dad, but mine worked hard, parented, volunteered, and had a social life. If he was introspective about the transitions of his life, he kept pretty quiet about it. He was just a good dad. He didn't go on the capital-D "Dad journey," because it wasn't all about him. I'd like to stick to that selfless model as much as I can. But it's hard. Really hard. So who am I to judge? I'm certainly no expert on fitness or parenting. If these guys can recharge their parenting batteries by sharing their stories with each other, more power to them. They're more proactive than I am, for sure.
Well, here I am blogging about it, so major points off my stoic score as well. Mea Culpa.
Another confession: As those runners were warming up last Sunday, I was enjoying some Count Chocula and cartoons with my kids. And as they were sprinting for the finish, I had my kids out for lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl for hot dogs and chili half smokes. Before anyone calls an abuse hotline -- or Mrs. Straight Guy -- know that we had fruit (and Pepto) and exercise (and Pepto) for the rest of the afternoon.
Look, I celebrate the concept, Dads on the Run. Get out there. Enjoy your friends and make new ones. Tune your bodies. Model that behavior for your kids. All good stuff. But maybe, just a marketing suggestion here, we could substitute some healthy "bullshitting" for all that therapeutic "bonding." Hey, maybe this is just semantics and by "funny stories" you really meant "filthy jokes." If so, I'm in. Especially if this route circles by Ben's (and then an EMT station).
Dagwood, your straight guy street cred is nada.
Yes. I realize that manipulating your sexual relationship into a reward system for completed chores is not a benchmark of a healthy marriage. But since it's not working anyway, we'll have to forgive Blondie.
I think it's high time we get some kind of crossover going on with the writers of Judge Parker. Yowza. I never know exactly what's going on in that strip, but those characters are... um... healthy.
I know. Some folks love these old strips because they never change. But notice that Dagwood has a new-fangled, flat-panel TV. Welcome to the modern world. He can't be missing all those annoying "Viva Viagra" ads, though. Can he? I don't care how long you've been married, Dagwood, that's friggin Blondie. Wake up.
Thank you, failblog.
Gay Guy is on vacation this week, sorry if things are sounding a little one-sided.
Saddened by the news about John Hughes passing today. [Entertainment Weekly story here.] He'd been retired and lived in relative seclusion since the mid-90s. Good for him.
Over a year ago, I put up a post about his impact on me, and the importance of tolerance as a central theme of his work, at least in his incredible string mid-80s teen-angst comedies.
Here it is:
Saw this recent article on John Hughes. My teenage angst came flooding back as I read it. I think demographically I was the perfect target for the genre he created. When "Sixteen Candles" came out, I was (1) sixteen, and (2) an emotional outsider seeking some validation.
As the article points out, Hughes switched the game and told many of his stories from the outsider's perspective. In fact, Hughes' best known film (though not my favorite) is "The Breakfast Club" where Hughes implies that we are ALL outsiders, no matter how we classify ourselves. My public school was similarly governed by cliques... divided into athletes, stage performers, brainiacs, and those who inhabited the smoking lounge (how was this ever an approved and authorized option for 14-year-olds?). There were many options for self-segregation...
I didn't know anyone who was gay and "out" (though some of my suspicions have since been confirmed -- more surprising are the ones that weren't). But my high school would not have been the most accommodating environment for the first one to try. We certainly used homophobic insults with little discretion.
In not a small way, I'm sure that these films made me a more accepting and tolerant person. You've met some of my high school friends, GG, and must know that if I am open-minded, it's not due to engaging in enlightening discourse with them.
I don't deserve any extra credit for being your friend, Gay Guy. Well, I do... for so many reasons, but not because you're gay, I should say. But if it took some growing up on my part to see value in people that I don't totally understand, I have to give some credit to Hughes and his films.
He made 6 "outsider" films from 84 to 87, some better than others, but all arriving between my 16th and 19th birthdays. And I'm sure I didn't miss a single one.
Anyway, many of today's filmmakers cite Hughes as a crucial influence, and have sought him out to no avail. He hasn't worked in many years (though I hear that the idea for the recent Owen Wilson flop "Drillbit Taylor" is an old one of his).
- Sixteen Candles (1984)
- Weird Science (1985)
- The Breakfast Club (1985)
- Pretty in Pink (1986)
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
- Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Just wondering if these or any other mainstream films had a similar impact on you.
Gay Guy later admitted that he didn't think he'd seen, or at least remembered seeing, any of these. Blasphemy.
Look, I have such a soft place in my heart for these films that I forgive Hughes for the lazy recycling of "Some Kind of Wonderful" from the remnants of "Pretty in Pink." Swap the lead's genders and it's a whole new film. Kind of. But it still works. No one can top PIP's thirty-ish James Spader as the spoiled high-school heavy, though.
Readers, anyone else have any John Hughes memories? His films are undeniable, and easily quotable, touchstones for Gen Xers like me.
One of my favorites: "Can I borrow your underpants for, like, 10 minutes?"
Here's the last few minutes of a Cheers episode, way back from the first season.
One of Sam's old pro-baseball teammates has written a book and comes out of the closet. The regulars worry that the publicity will cause Cheers to be known as a gay bar. They've already tagged a few new customers as suspicious, and are taking matters into their own hands. But is their gaydar up to snuff?
Dated? Ahead of it's time? Somehow, both?
Here are links to the first two parts (1, 2), and a blog post from Ken Levine, the writer of the episode who'd still like to tweak that last joke. Must have been a tough episode to sell to the network in the early 80s.
UPDATE: They won an Emmy and a GLAAD award for the episode.
Brimmed caps serve two purposes only:
(1) To keep the sun out of your eyes.
(2) To disguise a bad case of weekend bed head.
From illustrator Lunchbreath. Check out his flickr stream. Anyone who hates Ed Hardy stuff as much as I do is all right with me.
Dudes sporting a backwards cap AND an Ed Hardy t-shirt should be stereotyped and avoided. Feel free to judge that book by it's cover. It's a very dull read, anyway.
An LA fertility clinic has just added a new search criteria to it's anonymous sperm bank catalog. Customers can look beyond the height, hair color, and education of the donor. Now you can also know whether he looks like Brad Pitt (not listed yet) or Brad Garrett (yes, listed, and extra points for honesty).
No guarantees, of course. Quote from the California Cryobank website:
No celebrity is meant as an exact match for any donor, nor should you assume that your future children will look like any celebrity listed... consider the fact that many people look like both their parents, without their parents actually looking like each other.
That's small consolation if a slight misfiling error gets a donor knocked up by "James Gandolfini" instead of "James Franco." Just saying. Let's be careful with the vials.
Still, business is looking good the company. Here's a quote from an article at KTLA:
"The number one client question we get is: `Who does this donor look like?"' said Scott Brown of California Cryobank. "We decided this would be a great way to give thorough and consistent answers. Clients love it. Look-a-Likes has only been available for a week and our Web site traffic is up 50 percent."
I'm not sure who, exactly, is in the market for a Jerry Orbach look-a-like baby (yes, he's listed). But I created this photo as a warning to those who might not think that plan all the way through.
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